Meet Marissa Levin,CEO of Information Experts in Virginia, award-winning provider of strategic communications services since 1995. Her company's flagship government contract, with the Office of Personnel Management, is worth over $6 million.
- Tough Times Spurred Federal Pursuit: "After 9/11 we nearly went out of business," she said. "So we turned to the business in our own backyard," and started to pursue government contracts.
- First Contract: Was surprisingly fast: "We were invited to 2 EPA task order competitions for creative work...because we had strong commercial experience." EPA was also looking for qualified 8(a) companies. But steady profit required time and money.
- Market Entry Investment: Nearly 2 years and well over $200,000. On what? "We got on several GSA Schedules; built strong partnerships with large integrators; did a lot of marketing, including to many 8(a) shows produced by FBC and ones sponsored by the agencies."
- Key To The $6 Million Contract: Relationships. "The relationships I formed, and the due diligence I did to get to know them and demonstrate our capabilities, and the research I did with the draft RFP’s, did a tremendous amount to develop the level of comfort and trust that the Office of Personnel Management had with us."
- Biggest Challenge: Financing. "From the day you win, you have to start executing! But you then have to bankroll your employees for 60 to 90 days," before you might get your first payment. Without financing, that large contract could put you out of business! "My living room had no furniture in it, but I had this contract!"